nature school project: DIY hamsa scarecrow
In this week's Martin and Sylvia's Nature School story, "Guardians of the Garden," when Momma wakes up to see that some wild rabbits have eaten her garden greens again, she asks Mr. Brown to teach her some ways to keep the rabbits away. Mr. Brown proposes a workshop not only for Momma, but for Sylvia and Sofia as well. In the workshop, they learn about rabbits, but also imagine what it is like to be a deer, a blackbird, a mole, and Sylvia’s favorite — a porcupine!
I have a large urban garden and that means lots of critters come to visit. There are lots of birds, lizards, bees, hummingbirds, and even a few good snakes. But like Momma in the story, I don't want the rabbits or even the birds who come to eat too much. One way to keep away unwanted flying or hopping critters is to have a scarecrow. Not the old-fashioned, hay-and stick-kind you'd find in a field in Kansas, but rather a shiny, moving kind with a bit of good luck added to it.
One of the oldest symbols to ward off back luck is the hamsa. It is an open hand with 5 digits ("hamsa"). The symbol of an open hand is used in many cultures and religions from across the world: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and even Christiany all have various forms of the hamsa. It is a symbol of protection, blessing, power, and strength. (The symbol can be positioned with the hand oriented either up or down.)
With that in mind, I thought it would be fitting to create a hamsa that you can hang in your garden to ward off pests and protect and bless your space.
DIY Hamsa Scarecrow
- 1 sheet of thin metal (found at craft stores)
- Hemp cord
- Sharpie pen
- Hamsa stencil
- Utility scissors
How to Make It
Begin by tracing the hamsa symbol onto the sheet of metal.
Using heavy-duty scissors, carefully cut out the metal tracing. Because the metal is sharp, it's not recommended for little ones to do the cutting. Your hamsa will look like this once it is cut out:
Hamsas are often decorated with stones and jewels. In this case, I've decorated it using a sharpie marker. The eye is another symbol used to ward off back luck.
Next using the nail and a hammer tap holes into the metal along the decoration lines.
It will look like this when you are done.
Now is the part where kids can help string the beads. At the top and bottom of the hamsa, make a hole using the nail and hammer. Take a length of hemp cord and string it through the hole and tie several tight knots. Now place as many beads on the cord as you'd like. When you are done, tie a looped knot at the top so you can hang the whole scarecrow when you are done. (I made my cord about 8 inches long.) Repeat for the bottom string.
Hang in your garden and enjoy!
About the Author
Sparkle Stories Media Maven
KC is a full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls. She writes about all kinds of radical goodness, from gardening and cooking with whole foods to attachment parenting, high needs toddlers, crafting, sewing, homeschooling, and mama musings. Read more on her blog Olive and Owl.
Martin & Sylivia's Nature School
As the summer comes to an end, Momma, Martin and Sylvia reflect on all the things they loved about the summer season: hikes, walks along the beach, blueberry picking, climbing trees and collecting bird feathers. Then Momma suggests that they keep the summer outdoor fun alive all year long: “Every Thursday, let’s have Nature School!” And so Martin joins the Goose-eye Wilderness School, and Sylvia and her friend Sophia create a Nature home-school. From wildcraft cooking to outdoor games to building projects to tree identification, Nature School will be a year of unfolding learning and fun.